Lee G, Jeon S, Lee S-K, et al.
Thyroid disease is common in dogs and conventional ultrasonography is a standard diagnostic test for diagnosis and treatment planning. Strain elastography can provide additional information about tissue stiffness noninvasively after applying external or internal compression. However, natural carotid artery pulsations in the canine thyroid gland are too weak to maintain sufficient internal compression force. The objective of the present study was to describe the feasibility of strain elastography for evaluating the canine thyroid gland and the repeatability of dobutamine-induced carotid artery pulsation as an internal compression method. In seven healthy Beagle dogs, strain on each thyroid lobe was induced by external compression using the ultrasound probe and internal compression using carotid artery pulsation after dobutamine infusion. The thyroid appeared homogeneously green and the subcutaneous fat superficial to the thyroid lobe appeared blue. Strain values and strain ratios did not differ among dogs or between the left and right lobes. Interobserver repeatability was excellent for both compression methods. Intraobserver repeatability of the strain ratio measured using the carotid artery pulsation method (intraclass coefficient correlation = 0.933) was higher than that measured using the external compression method (0.760). Mean strain values of thyroid lobes for the external compression method (142.93 ± 6.67) differed from the internal method (147.31 ± 8.24; P < 0.05). Strain ratios between the two methods did not differ. Strain elastography was feasible for estimating thyroid stiffness in dogs. Carotid artery pulsation induced by dobutamine infusion can be used for canine thyroid strain elastography with excellent repeatability.